How bad is GOP obstructionism in the Senate? Republican senators are on pace to more than triple the previous record for uses of a filibuster in a Congress. In 2009, there were a record 112 cloture votes (the number of cloture votes is how you measure the use of filibusters). So far in 2010, there have already been more than 40 cloture votes. The previous record was in 1995-1996, when the Republican-controlled Senate required 50 cloture votes.
Even if these tactics seem to please ‘the base’ of the GOP, what makes them think it will appeal to moderates? Is this a winning political strategy? What do you think?
Maybe it’s time to revisit the Senate’s arcane rules, which allow any individual senator to block any presidential appointee on a whim. With dozens of government posts still unfilled, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) is reportedly throwing a historically unprecedented temper tantrum by placing a hold on at least 70 presidentially nominated jobs. Shelby’s office will not talk to reporters about the reported move, which can be undertaken anonymously, but according to Congress Daily the lawmaker has clashed with the White House over a $40 billion military contract whose recipient is threatening to scrap a planned factory in Mobile, Alabama. Holds force the Senate to break a filibuster, which requires 60 votes and can slow Congressional business to a crawl even if the vote succeeds.
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